Malaysia tourism tax to be enforced from July, not August: Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will begin imposing its tourism tax from July and not August as reported earlier, according to Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz on Thursday (Jun 8).

An earlier announcement on the Royal Malaysian Customs Department’s website stated the tourism tax would kick in from Aug 1. The webpage with details on the tax has been taken down.

Mr Nazri also shot down a news report which claimed the implementation of the tax would be postponed.

“The gazette (on Tourism Tax) is automatic, in accordance with the country’s procedures, when it is approved by the parliament. If we want to say it has not been gazetted, that’s right, but it cannot prevent the will of our MPs who have unanimously approved to implement this tax, and it will be implemented.

“So our target is Jul 1,” he told reporters following the opening of a seminar.

The tax will be collected from all types of premises used as accommodation for tourists, such as registered hotels and inns, he said.

Rates start from RM2.50 (S$0.80) a room each night at a non-rated accommodation to RM20 a room each night at a five-star accommodation.

During the last session of parliament, the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 tabled by Mr Nazri was approved in a majority vote.

When winding up debate on the Bill, the minister said the tax would bring in revenue of about RM654.62 million if Malaysia’s 11 million hotel rooms see a 60 per cent occupancy rate.

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